Classic English Literature.

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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A review. (CONTAINS SPOILERS.)

This is the story of Gloria and Anthony Patch and the trials that their relationship goes through. It takes place over a period of about eight or nine years. This is on the cusp of the jazz-age, when 30 was old age and people lived fast and died young.

Gloria comes across as a somewhat feckless, fickle girl to begin with who has a string of love affairs. Anthony, it seems, seems to want to make money. Most of the time they end up having to sell war bonds to live. (I don’t understand the system of this. If someone can please explain this to me then please feel free.) Isn’t the ambition to make money shared by everyone?

Their marriage is broken by the war when Anthony has an affair with a girl called Dorothy and both Gloria and Anthony are plagued by deadly indifference and drinking. The scenes when Anthony NEEDS money for drink is sad and tragic. The story is mainly taken up with the court case over Anthony and Gloria’s inheritance from Anthony’s father, and at the end, when they have the $30m, they are clearly not happy because Anthony has a nervous breakdown and Gloria is spending the money lavishly. Money doesn’t buy happiness, kids!

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books were all too often almost mirror images of his own life with his wife, Zelda, and the release of The Great Gatsby on film will definitely incur more interest. I even had my 13-year-old sister reading the book obsessively because she wanted to watch the film so much. Anyway, I digress.

Fitzgerald’s books certainly show the bitter tragedy and irony of the society of the 1920s. Something that TBATD taught me was that money can make people greedy and cannot buy happiness. Now I’ll go and count the cash in my change jar and count my blessings.

Have you ever read any of Fitzgerald’s books? What do you think of them?

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